Insomnia is an extremely common problem and a high percentage of people will have to deal with it at some point in their lives. However, most people will struggle to handle their insomnia alone and don’t consider consulting a specialist about their sleeping problems. Most doctors don’t consider asking their patients about their sleeping patterns at all. Nowadays, there are some quite effective sleep medications that are available by prescription, which can be used for up to six months at a time, and have no addictive properties. Therefore, insomnia no longer needs to be a treacherous path to walk down on your own.
There are certain risk factors that put a person at higher risk for insomnia that can – and should – be addressed. Some insomnia risk factors include aging or the elderly, personal conflicts in your life, being stressed or over-worked, illness in your family, low social status, or maybe a psychological or psychiatric problem.
Those people at greatest risk for developing chronic insomnia is typically a female past the age of sixty who has a history of anxiety, stress or depression (or maybe a combination these), and who may also have some underlying medical condition. One myth regarding insomnia is that as people get older they will need less sleep. However, this has never been validated and still remains untrue today. Remember that these risk factors don’t mean that you will actually develop insomnia, only that you may be at greater risk.
Negative thinking is also associated with insomnia or when something is really weighing heavily on ones mind. This can have a negative impact and because the mind is preoccupied with these thoughts, it can trigger a bout of insomnia. Sometimes people have an onset of insomnia that is very temporary while in other people, it can linger on for months.
Depression is the number one factor associated with insomnia. Almost all people who have been diagnosed with depression also have insomnia. Therefore, it is likely that if the depression itself can be managed then their insomnia should subside as a result.
A lack of decent sleep can also weaken the immune system, and this can cause susceptibility to various other maladies including the flu, colds and viruses. Studies have shown that insomnia often happens at a much higher rate in women than in men. It is believed this is because women usually have some degree of hormone fluctuation, such as menstruation, premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy along with and menopause. And also, simple anxiety is a lot more prevalent in women than in men. This could also be a reason why the rate of insomnia is much higher in women than men.
A relationship between childhood sleep patterns and adult insomnia has also been identified. Childhood sleep disorders such as difficulty falling asleep, sleep walking, nightmares and restless leg syndrome. Children who experience any of these sleep disorders will definitely have a higher risk of developing chronic insomnia when they are an adult. Another risk factor of insomnia is childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in a child, that carries over into their adulthood.